, Volume 295, Issue 1–3, pp 75–81

Impact of expected climate change on mangroves

  • C. D. Field


There is a consensus of scientific opinion that the activities of man will cause a significant change in the global climate over the next hundred years. The rising level of carbon dioxide and other industrial gases in the atmosphere may lead to global warming with an accompanying rise in sea-level. Mangrove ecosystems grow in the intertidal zones in tropical and sub-tropical regions and are likely to be early indicators of the effects of climate change. The best estimates of predicted climate change in the literature are presented. It is suggested that a rise in mean sea-level may be the most important factor influencing the future distribution of mangroves but that the effect will vary dramatically depending on the local rate of sea-level rise and the availability of sediment to support reestablishment of the mangroves. The predicted rise in mean air temperature will probably be of little consequence to the development of mangroves in general but it may mean that the presence of mangroves will move further north and south, though this will depend on a number of additional factors. The effect of enhanced atmospheric CO2 on the growth of mangroves is unknown at this time but that there is some evidence that not all species of mangroves will respond similarly. The socio-economic impacts of the effects of climate on mangrove ecosystems may include increased risk of flooding, increased erosion of coast lines, saline intrusion and increased storm surges.

Key words

climate change mangrove ecosystems 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Amarasinghe, M. D., 1988. Socio-economic status of the human communities of selected mangrove areas on the West coast of Sri Lanka. Mangrove Ecosystems Occasional Paper No 3. UNESCO.Google Scholar
  2. Andrews, T. J., B. F. Clough & G. J. Muller, 1984. Photosynthetic gas exchange properties and carbon isotope ratioss of some mangroves in North Queensland. In Physiology and Management of Mangroves, Tasks for Vegetation Science 9 (H. J. Teas, ed.), Dr W. Junk, The Hague, pp. 15–23.Google Scholar
  3. Ball, M. C., 1988. Ecophysiology of mangroves. Trees 2: 129–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ball, M. C. & G. D. Farquhar, 1984a. Photosynthetic and stomatal responses of two mangrove species, Aegiceras corniculatum and Avicennia marina, to long term salinity and humidity conditions. Plant Physiol. 74: 1–6.Google Scholar
  5. Ball, M. C. & G. D. Farquhar, 1984b. Photosynthetic and stomatal responses of the grey mangrove, Avicennia marina, to transient salinity conditions. Plant Physiol. 74: 7–11.Google Scholar
  6. Ball, M. C. & R. Munss, 1992. Plant responses to salinity under elevated atmospheric concentrations of CO2. Aust. J. Bot. 40: 515–525.Google Scholar
  7. Burchett, M. D., C. D. Field & A. Pulkownik, 1984. Salinity, growth and root respiration in the grey mangrove Avicennia marina. Physiol. Plant. 60: 113–118.Google Scholar
  8. Cheeseman, J. M., B. F. Clough, D. R. Carter, C. E. Lovelock, J. E. Ong & R. G. Sim, 1991. The analysis of photosynthetic performance of leaves under field conditions: a case study using Bruguiera mangroves. Photosynth. Res. 29: 11–22.Google Scholar
  9. Clough, B. F, T. J. Andrews & I. R. Cowan, 1982. Physiological process in mangroves. In Mangrove Ecosystems in Australia: Structure, Function and Management (Clough, B. F. ed.). Australian National University Press, Canberra: 193–210.Google Scholar
  10. Clough, B. F, 1984. Growth and salt balance of the mangroves Avicinnia marina (Forsk.) Vierh. and Rhizophora stylosa griff. in relation to salinity. Austr. J. Plant Physiol. 11: 419–430.Google Scholar
  11. Clough, B. F. & R. G. Sim, 1989. Changes in gas exchange characteristics and water use efficiency of mangroves in response to salinity and water vapour. Oecologia 79: 38–44.Google Scholar
  12. Cure, J. D. & B. Acock, 1986. Crop responses to carbon dioxide doubling: a literature survey. Agricult. Forest Meteorol. 38: 127–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Drake, B. G, 1992. A field study of the effects of elevated CO2 on ecosystem processes in a Chesapeake Bay wetland. Aust. J. Bot. 40: 579–595.Google Scholar
  14. Eamus, D., & P. G. Jarvis, 1989. The direct effects of increase in the global atmospheric CO2 concentration on natural and commercial temperate trees and forests. Adv. Ecol. Res. 19: 1–55.Google Scholar
  15. Ellison, J. E. & D. R. Stoddart, 1991. Mangrove ecosystem collapse during predicted sea-level rise: holocene analogues and implications. J. Coast. Res. 7: 151–165.Google Scholar
  16. Field, C. D. & A. Dartnall, (eds.), 1985. Mangrove ecosystems of Asia and the Pacific: status, exploitation and management. Australian Institute of Marine Science. Queensland. Australia, 320 pp.Google Scholar
  17. Hamilton, L. S. & S. C. Snedaker, 1984. Handbook for mangrove area management. East West Center, International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources and UNESCO, 123 pp.Google Scholar
  18. Hutchings, P. & P. Saenger, 1987. Ecology of Mangroves. University of Queensland Press, Australia, Australia, 388 pp.Google Scholar
  19. IPCC, 1990a. Climate change: the scientific assessment. Report of working group 1. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 358 pp.Google Scholar
  20. IPCC, 1990b. Climate change: the impacts assessment. Report of working group 11. Australian Government Publishing Service. Canberra.Google Scholar
  21. IPCC, 1991. Climate change: the response strategies. Report of working group 111. Island press. Washington, D.C., 268 pp.Google Scholar
  22. Kimball, B. A., 1983. Carbon dioxide and agricultural yield: an assemblage of 770 prior observations. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Water Conservation Laboratory Report 14, Phoenix, Arizona, 77 pp.Google Scholar
  23. Lal, P. N., 1990. Ecological economic analysis of mangrove conservation: a a case study form Fiji. Mangrove Ecosystems Occasional Papers No 6. UNESCO.Google Scholar
  24. Millman, J. D., J. M. Broadus & F. Gable, 1989. Environmental and economic implications of rising sea level and subsiding deltas: the Nile and Bengal examples. Ambio 18: 340–345.Google Scholar
  25. Rawson, H. M., 1992. Plant responses to temperature underconditions of elevated CO2. Aust. J. Bot. 40: 473–490.Google Scholar
  26. Saenger, P., E. J. Hegerl & J. D. S. Davie, 1983. Global Status of mangrove ecosystems. IUCN. Comm. Ecological PapersNo 3 Gland, Switzerland, 88 pp.Google Scholar
  27. Saenger, P. & J. Moverly, 1985. Vegetative phenology of mangroves along the Queensland coastline. Proc. Ecol. Soc. Austr. 13: 257–265.Google Scholar
  28. Woodroffe, C. D., & J. Grindrod, 1991. Mabngrove biogeography: the role of Quaternary environmental and sea-level change. J. Biogeogr. 18: 479–492.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. D. Field
    • 1
  1. 1.City Polytechnic of Hong KongKowloonHong Kong

Personalised recommendations